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The Plot by Jan Hanff Korelitz – a review

I have to confess to not having heard of this author before, however I had watched the Undoing on TV and really enjoyed that so when I was offered a copy of this by the publisher I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m very glad I did.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz begins with Jake, an author who having achieved success with his first novel has turned to teaching whilst he struggles with producing another best seller. One of his student’s Evan says he has a great idea for a novel with a story that can’t fail. A couple of years later, Jake has lost his teaching job and is still no further forward with producing a hit book. When he spots an article saying his former student has died he is reminded of the plot of Evan’s novel. Desperate to prove he can still write a bestseller he takes the plot and becomes a success. Unfortunately someone out there knows that it wasn’t his story to tell.

I absolutely loved this novel. From the very start I was sucked into Jake’s world. Although he was pretty unlikeable really, there was something about him that made me both feel sad for him and furious with him at the same time.

It wasn’t a high octane story and was quite different to my usual reads but I found it utterly compelling. The story was good, the idea of whether you can actually own an idea is an interesting one that was explored well here. Even though I had an idea about one of the main twists way before it happened that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. The novel also gives us the story that Evan was going to write, and unusually for me I found that story just as enticing as the main one. Normally I find myself skipping these secondary plots to stick with the main one but not here.

The writing style felt quite novel to me, my usual reads tend to be short sharp sentences driving the plot forward, whereas this felt much slower with long sentences and descriptions giving it a really immersive feel that kept me hooked from the start.

I would highly recommend this book and will be looking out for other novels by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir – a review BLOG TOUR

When I received the email about this, the premise of sounded so good that despite it being the second in a series I jumped at the chance to be able to join the blog tour for Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir.

Girls Who Lie focusses on the disappearance of single mother Marianna. It is assumed that she has committed suicide until her body is discovered and it’s clearly murder. Her daughter Hekla is in foster care but seems to be coping well at least to start with. Police Officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case of Marianna and soon get drawn into what becomes an increasingly complex case. Meanwhile 15 years previously another single mother is struggling to bond with her new born child and to make a new life for herself.

Girls Who Lie was an excellent read that captivated me from the start. The story flits between the two timelines with ease as we uncover the truth about what happened to Marianne and Hekla, as well as the strange lonely girl in the past. The historical element first person chapters were especially chilling and created a interesting dimension to the police procedural element of the main story.

I enjoyed finding out about the main character Elma, and about her relationship with her own family which becomes more fraught as she puts her desire to find out the truth ahead of everything else. Like all good detectives Elma has a complicated background but I didn’t find this over powered the mystery which was still the main focus of the story.

The writing in this novel can only be described as beautiful, obviously it is translated but perfectly so. The descriptions of Iceland and the town this is set in are really intriguing and I found myself googling lots of places such as lava fields as I read on.

The story itself was compelling and it was littered with misdirection and red herrings that made it a complete page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s an excellent addition to my Nordic Noir collection and I have already ordered her first The Creak on the Stairs so I can catch up with Elma from the beginning.

To find out what others thought of Girls Who Lie you can visit the other stops on the blog tour:

Click here to buy your own copy of Girls Who Lie

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SHORTLIST REVEALED FOR THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

This year’s list recognises author Chris Whitaker who hopes to claim the trophy on his first ever nomination with We Begin at The End – a powerful story of crime, punishment, love and redemption set in coastal California.

Sunday Times bestselling author Rosamund Lupton’s thrilling story of gunmen opening fire on a Somerset School has clinched a coveted spot on the shortlist. Three Hours sets the clock ticking for the hostages in a nail-biting exploration of white supremacy and radicalisation.

The creator of Norfolk’s best loved forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway Elly Griffiths is hoping that her seventh prize nomination takes her one step further to take the title. The twelfth novel in the whodunnit series, The Lantern Men sees Galloway return to the fens to hunt down a serial killer.

Trevor Wood’s meteoric rise continues as the debut author goes from being selected for Val McDermid’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel at the 2020 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival to being shortlisted for the coveted trophy with his acclaimed novel The Man on the Street. As a former naval officer, Wood brings to bear remarkable insight in this story of a homeless Falklands veteran with severe PTSD turned criminal investigator.

Scottish-Bengali author Abir Mukherjee is vying for his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel Death in the East – described by The Times as “the best so far of an unmissable series”. A mesmerising portrait of India, Assam and East End London, perhaps this third nomination for will prove lucky for the account-turned best-selling author?

The final title on this year’s shortlist is Northern Irish author Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for political thriller The Last Crossing which looks at The Troubles from the perspective of view of former operatives who like to think they have moved on.

The six shortlisted books for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

The public are now invited to vote for the winner via www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com and the winner will be announced on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“This is it: the crème de la crème of crime. This shortlist really does showcase the breadth and depth of the genre. It’s going to be a fiercely fought prize this year so make sure you vote for your favourite. Until then, I look forward to raising a glass of Old Peculier at the winner’s announcement on 22 July!”

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors. The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

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The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffe – a review BLOG TOUR

The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffee begins when the mutilated body of a young female is found at a park in Leeds. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are called out to investigate. With little evidence found at the scene it seems like they are stuck at a dead end. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure as the inevitable comparisons with the Yorkshire Ripper start in the press. When he realises that the victims have been held captive for days before being murdered, he starts to realise that there is a seriously depraved person out there, and that the case is starting to turn personal.

Although this is the second novel by Catherine Yaffe it is the first I have read. However this can absolutely be read as a standalone. The back ground of Ziggy is revealed gradually through the story, including why he’s called Ziggy, and so I didn’t get the feeling I was missing anything. Although he was the typical divorced detective he also had a vulnerability about him that I liked and made him seem more rounded. His interaction with his team members was natural and he genuinely seemed to care about his team.

I am a big fan of novels that give the perspective from the serial killer and this is no exception. I thought the chapter’s from the killers voice gave an interesting extra dimension to the story, that I found fascinating. They were interspered thoughout and gave a change from the hectic pace of the police procedures.

The story was full of twists and turns that really drew me in from the beginning with some well written prose. Every time I thought I had a handle on where the case was going I would be thrown off direction once again. I very much enjoyed The Web they Wove and will definitely be looking to catch up with Ziggy on his next case.

To find out what others thought of Catherine Yaffe’s novel visit the other stops on the tour:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Web-They-Wove-Tangled-Book-ebook/dp/B0937K58PF/

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